An Open Letter To Bishop McElroy to Re-Open San Diego Catholic Schools
July 14, 2020
Dear Bishop Robert McElroy,
We would ask that you open our San Diego Catholic Schools to in-person learning this Fall. While it is politically easy to follow the lead of the San Diego and Los Angeles Unified School Districts who are teaching on-line this fall, this is the wrong thing to do for our kids, for our teachers, for our parents, and for our society.
There are a number of reasons to reopen our schools to in person learning.
Children have been clearly demonstrated to have no symptoms or very mild ones when they contract COVID-19 (1). Of all COVID related deaths, less than 1/20 of 1% was in the 0-19 year old age bracket (2). Opening the schools is not a health issue for our children.
However, having children not go to school is a huge educational issue. We as parents send our children to Catholic schools for the high quality, caring teachers, the emphasis on morality, guided by our Catholic faith, and better discipline. Education by Zoom is a poor substitute for the real thing.
Teachers teach better in person, can see where kids are struggling, are able to interact with the kids in creative ways, and are better able to build a rapport with their class. These teachers will inspire their kids as a mentor, example, friend, and authority figure. All of these benefits are extremely hard to do remotely.
Additionally, forcing education to be remote destroys jobs, productivity, and companies. Any parent can tell you that trying to work and coordinate their child’s learning at the same time has serious impacts on your productivity. If you run your own company, it means reduced income. Many parents are simply unable to work if they are required to stay at home with their children due to closure of schools.
Of course, if our kids or families were (or are) at risk, we would make sacrifices willingly to keep them safe. But science and the past 6 months demonstrate our children are not at risk.
Please allow our families to thrive once more instead of placing more burdens on us. Choices can be made which will allow our schools to reopen, provide for safe education, and let parents and teachers make appropriate choices as needed to keep ourselves and our at-risk loved ones safe.
And you would not be making this decision to open our schools without precedent. Many European and other countries around the world have already chosen to open their schools with no apparent bad effects (3).
We pray for you as you make these highly charged decisions,
David & Christine Carta
(updated link https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/health_policy/Provisional-COVID-19-Deaths-ages-5-18-years-508.pdf)